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Local lawmaker weighs in on report about major bills to come from legislative session

A new report has been released by the non-partisan state Office of Legislative Research.  It's a summary of the major public acts for 2015 that came out of the General Assembly session, which ended earlier this month. 


New Fairfield state Representative Richard Smith says there were a number of bills he's pleased made it through both the House and Senate during the short session.  He cited toughening laws on sexual assaults and strengthening criminal penalties in other areas.


Smith says there was a lot of debate about the Governor's proposed Second Chance Society legislation, but ultimately they did not act on it.  It's unclear if the Special Session set to be held next week would be expanded from budget-related bills to also including taking up the Second Chance bill again.


One bill included in the report deals with security freeze fees.  A new law prohibits credit rating agencies from charging certain fees related to credit freezes to an identity theft victim or his or her spouse who submits a copy of a police report to the credit rating agency or anyone under age 18 or at least 62.


A new law imposes restrictions on the use of e-cigarettes in certain establishments and public areas that are similar to existing restrictions on smoking in these areas. For example, it bans the use of e-cigarettes in state buildings, restaurants, places serving alcohol, schools, and child and health care facilities, among others.  It makes exceptions for e-cigarette use in certain areas and facilities, including designated smoking areas, tobacco bars, and outdoor areas in establishments that serve alcohol


A new law reduces, from four years to two, the number of years of high school education that students without legal immigration status must complete in Connecticut to receive in-state tuition benefits at the state's public higher education institutions. The law also extends in-state tuition eligibility to nonimmigrant aliens who are human trafficking victims or have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of certain criminal activity.

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